Did you know high blood pressure (hypertension) affects 1 in 3 adults in the UK? If left untreated, it can put a strain on your arteries and organs, which can increase your risk of developing serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. That’s why it is important to know your numbers!
Low blood pressure (hypotension) isn’t usually as serious, although it can cause dizziness and fainting in some people.
A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high or too low, because most people won’t have any obvious symptoms. Having a test is easy and could save your life.
When should I get my blood pressure tested?
You can ask for a blood pressure test if you’re worried about your blood pressure at any point. It’s recommended that all adults over 40 years of age have their blood pressure tested at least every 5 years so any potential problems can be detected early.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or you’re at a particularly high risk of these problems, you may need to have more frequent tests to monitor your blood pressure and keep it at healthy levels.
How is blood pressure tested?
A device called a sphygmomanometer will be used to measure your blood pressure. It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for the test. You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing, so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm. Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is being carried out.
During the test:
- you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it – your arm should be supported in this position, such as with a cushion or arm of a chair
- the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm – this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds
- the pressure in the cuff is slowly released, we then listen to your pulse
- the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm – these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading (see Understanding your blood pressure reading)
Our pharmacist can let you know your results straight away. Find your nearest Imaan Healthcare Pharmacy here.